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Migrant Family in Scottish Highlands Scrambles to Beat Deportation

Gregg, Kathryn and Lachlan Brain meet Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and MSP Kate Forbes (L) at Scotland's devolved Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland, May 26, 2016.

Gregg, Kathryn and Lachlan Brain meet Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and MSP Kate Forbes (L) at Scotland’s devolved Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland, May 26, 2016.Credit:Reuters/Russell Cheyne/Files

Edinburgh: An Australian family living in the Scottish Highlands will be deported on Monday if a high-profile bid to comply with UK visa requirements fails.

Gregg and Kathryn Brain are hoping for a last minute job offer or a British interior ministry extension allowing them to stay, with their seven-year-old son Lachlan, after a deadline on their visa extension runs out at midnight.

The Brains moved from Brisbane to Scotland in 2011 on Mrs Brain’s temporary student visa.

They opted to stay there as part of a British government-backed scheme to help shore up an ageing and shrinking population in the Highlands, but that initiative was scrapped in 2012.

An offer of work at a local distillery for Kathryn Brain, who studied Scottish history, was withdrawn last month after it became unclear whether it fulfilled immigration and employment regulations.

“One option is that there is mercy and compassion, and the home office [interior ministry] decides to offer an extension or find another way that they can stay,” Scottish lawmaker Kate Forbes told Reuters.

The legal complexities of the visa system meant more time was needed for job offers to be vetted for their suitability in resolving the Brains’ predicament, she said.

“The fear has always been that to grant too many extensions to the Brains would set a precedent. But we know there were few, if any, other individuals in the same boat as the Brains because the scheme was scrapped in 2012,” Forbes said.

Having whittled down their savings while waiting to comply with the new rules, the family is now surviving on the charity of neighbours, Gregg Brain told the BBC.

A Home Office spokesman said: “All visa applications are considered on their individual merits, and applicants must provide evidence to show they meet the requirements of the immigration rules.”

(Reuters)